Bad Report Card

Yesterday was Report Card Day around here in our school district.  For the most part, we’ve never had to really deal with bad grades around here.  My girls are all very good students and very diligent, but yesterday brought a not so good grade on one of our girl’s report cards.  We pretty much knew it was coming, for one of two reasons…She has been struggling a bit to grasp the subject and she quite possibly inherited her mom’s mediocre grades.  I was not the most driven, nor focused student, so I pray lots that the girls will get their dad’s smarts. 🙂 The other girls came home with straight A’s and A’s/B’s, so we were more than thrilled, but what to do when one of your daughters doesn’t bring home that great, perfect report card?  As I rejoiced with friends posting their children’s great accomplishments yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of the parents whose children didn’t get great grades. Really, no one was posting, “I’m so proud of _______ for making a ‘C’ on their report card.” Goodness, I surely wasn’t.  We don’t because it’s humiliating to us, disappointing and just not cool to throw your kid under the bus like that.  But, like most life experiences do, it got me thinking, “What do I say to my kid?” I mean, is she any less wonderful because she got a bad grade? No! Is it acceptable to us that she make a bad grade? Absolutely NOT!  But, what it does is open the door for a real life conversation about failure.  As sure as we will breathe, we will also fail.  Not one of us will always hit the mark.  As our daughter stood by and watched us “WhooHoo-ing” our other girls, our praise for her was no less. She made some seriously stellar grades in the other subjects, so we congratulated her, and later sat with her and challenged her to use this opportunity to rise above and accept it as an opportunity for a restart.  For me, the #1 thing I desired she know is that I believe in her.  I know she can turn it around.  I am OK with her failing…as long as she doesn’t give up.  I’m not a fan of shielding our kids so much that they are never allowed to fail, so that when they are on their own and experience failure, they have no clue how to respond.  As we disciplined her for the bad grade, we also challenged her to do whatever it takes to turn the story around for her next report card.  She lost a major privilege that she had earned, but has the opportunity to earn it back.  Isn’t that grace?  For me, I find myself looking for more of it.  We live in an “everything is rosy” environment.  We often never talk about the real life stuff that goes on in our day to day because we would be shown very little grace.  We certainly see much more pointing out the negative in people, organizations, and circumstances, rather than looking the individual in the face and showering them with grace.  Yesterday’s circumstance gave me the opportunity to match up my actions with the words I say.  I could’ve slaughtered my child, and trust me, I wanted to go OFF on her for that grade, but that is not what she needed.  She needed to know, that regardless of a screw up, we still loved her…we still believed she needed to pay a consequence, but she needed an opportunity to prove to herself she could accomplish way more if she put her mind to it.  Last night, I watched as she tackled her homework and as I checked it, she nailed it!  Today she may be less enthusiastic about getting it done, but that’s OK…we’ll look her in the face and say, “Keep it up”  because we believe in her.  Have your dreams died because failure sucked the life out of you?  Do you know it’s OK to fail?  Do you know His grace has already covered it all for you?  What’s not OK is to give up! Hey, you may never have the best grades, win the most awards, ever make it to college, or have anybody know your name, but when you fail and get back up, and get back up again, you succeed! Revisit your lost goals and dreams today.  There’s nothing stopping you…but YOU!

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